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Bob Dylan: A complicated and complicating poet

The Nobel Prize in Literature award acknowledges that he is among the most authentic voices America has produced.

It has never hurt that Dylan's words were delivered, as the English poet Philip Larkin once put it, in a "cawing, derisive voice" that seemed to carry the weight of myth and prophecy.

"I'M the first person who'll put it to you," Bob Dylan said in a 1978 interview, "and the last person who'll explain it to you."

The Swedish Academy, which awarded Dylan the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday, has put it to us, and it has no explaining to do to most readers and...